Unwanted default dark cell borders - new sheet or clearing all formatting

New Contributor

I have a bunch of Excel files that were created with 97-2003 as an xls. When a new sheet is added all cells have black borders. Also if the cell formatting is cleared, using Editing >> Clear >> Clear All, the cell borders are black.


I have also change to an xlsx but I still get the black borders. 

There is no scripting in the workbook.


I think this has something to do with default cell formatting but have yet to find an existing solution on the web.


Using Office 365.


When creating a new sheet



When clearing any existing formatting



In this example all cells were selected and the borders were set to "no borders". Then a range was selected and the formatting was cleared, now black borders show.



Any ideas on how to get the formatting back to factory defaults so when a sheet is added or a cell formatting is cleared it reverts to the Excel default and not these black borders?

3 Replies


Quit Excel.

In File Explorer (assuming you're on Windows), enter




in the address bar and press Enter. If you see Excel templates named Book.xltx and/or Sheet.xltx in the XLSTART folder, delete them or move them out of this folder.

Start Excel again and see if the problem is gone.

@Hans Vogelaar 

The XLSTART folder was empty.
I had three others, using different machines, try the workbook and they got the same results.

If I open a new workbook and copy a range of blank cells then paste them in to the older work book I get the black borders.


There must be settings in the workbook that define the default formatting but I have not found where that is.

There are multiple workbooks that have this same issue. All appear to have first been created from 1999-2003. Converting to xlsx does not fix the issue.


This the the new workbook




Here is the result of pasting into the old workbook.






You can attach one of the old workbooks that demonstrates the problem if you wish; you can remove all data.